It's been twenty years since I was last in Cardiff, so it was interesting to walk through the downtown area from my hotel to the conference site. What used to be the main shopping street has changed drastically--not for the better. The shopping area is now mainly new and a big car-free area of streets and alleys.
As I neared City Hall, the venue for the conference, there were signs on lamp-posts directing people to the IATEFL conference--bilingual signs (English and Welsh). There's been a big surge in the Welsh language--you notice that immediately you arrive. The sign at the railway station says "Cardiff" and "Caerdydd". Street signs are also in both languages. In Cardiff, however, there is a real mixture of Welsh and English accents, and if you don'tknow any Welsh, there's no problem. Everyone does speak English.
City Hall is a beautiful and impressive venue. There is a park with spring flowers blooming profusely, and Cardiff Castle is just across the road. I picked up my conference package--environmentally friendly bags are all in hemp here--and headed back to the hotel to peruse the "book".